BETHANY — A police chaplain and longtime Southern Nazarene University affiliate was struck by a van and killed Thursday night as he was leaving an SNU basketball game.
The duties of Bethany police chaplain Wally Renegar, 78, included counseling officers working on traumatic cases, most recently that of Carina Saunders, whose dismembered body was found in October.
Renegar had spent about an hour visiting with officers and Police Chief Phil Cole the day before he died.
“We're all just kind of in a state of shock,” Cole told reporters Friday morning at police headquarters.
Renegar was walking south across NW 39 Expressway about 6:30 p.m. Thursday to get to his car when he stepped off a median curb and was hit by the eastbound van. The driver of the van, a man in his 40s, was not injured nor cited for any wrongdoing, Cole said.
The accident was at Donald Avenue, just south of the SNU Sawyer Center where Renegar had been to the SNU women's basketball game. He was going home before the men's game to check on his ailing wife, Waulea, a friend said. The area where he was walking does not have crosswalk markings for pedestrians.
Renegar was a former Los Angeles County sheriff's chaplain, Cole said. Former Bethany Police Chief Neal Troutman recruited Renegar to serve as chaplain six years ago, Cole said.
“We have officers who are still officers today because he ministered to them after traumatic events,” Cole said. Renegar also worked with troubled children and was an active member of Bethany First Church of the Nazarene.
“He gave his entire life to the ministry of others,” Cole said. “Wally honored us every day of his life.”
Renegar had three loves in his life, Cole said.
“If you spent any time with Wally you knew three things. Wally loved his Lord and Savior. He loved his family, and Wally loved the men and women of the Bethany Police Department,” Cole said.
“It's a sad day for Bethany, but we know Wally is in the arms of his Savior. We ask for the public's prayers for his family, his church family, and selfishly, we ask for prayers for the Bethany Police Department.”
Sarah Roberts, SNU spokeswoman, said Renegar attended SNU, pastored a Nazarene church and was at one time employed by the university.
“The Southern Nazarene University community lost a valued alumnus, former colleague and friend to many when Rev. Wally Renegar was taken from this life suddenly and tragically,” SNU President Loren Gresham said in a statement. “His devotion to God and family was the core of his life. Close behind those priorities was his love for his alma mater and the people he befriended and encouraged. We will miss him greatly even as we pray for his family through these difficult days of transition in their lives.”
Tom Hoskison, Bethany business development director, said Renegar had been well known in the community for decades. He had been pastor of Lakeview Park Church of the Nazarene in northwest Oklahoma City.
“He was our pastor, and we loved him,” Hoskison said. “He was very respected by the police department.”
Mercer-Adams Funeral Home is handling the service arrangements, a director said.